Don’t Let Communication With Your Kids Crash

What words are you tempted to shout at your toddler who throws herself on the floor at Target screaming over and over “ I want a snack,” or your squirmy, wiggly 6 year old who knocks a full glass of chocolate milk over your stack of important documents, or your argumentative 9 year old who defiantly barks “you are so mean” when you refuse to give in to her demands? When you ask your child to do a chore, or put away the iPad,  to you frequently find the two of you colliding into a screaming match? And do you give in to demands at times simply to avoid this type of head-on collision with your defiant child? In recent years the most common questions I am asked by parents, have to do with how to avoid getting angry and yelling at their children.These parents realize there must be a better way, yet they have no idea how to get there.  Learning how to communicate is vitally important, and even more so in our digitally connected world that offers them instant connection with anyone else, 24 hours a day. What causes so much eruption between parent and child today? I believe there are several reasons, such as the strong tendency in this generation to micromanage children or to place them at the center of who controls the family, or the assumption parents exist to make their kids happy. I recently have pondered an admittedly crazy reason as well. In recent years I see what feels like an increasing number of very, very strong willed kids, especially boys, who challenge...

How Not to Provoke Your Kids

  As stated in the previous blog, two of the few directives given to parents in the New Testament are about not provoking our children (Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21). I think this is important! To provoke means to exasperate or to rouse someone to anger. Regularly provoking our kids will likely kindle anger and resentment as habitual responses within them. We provoke our kids when we: discipline in harsh, punitive ways discipline while angry regularly find fault scold and lecture chastise them in front of others mock or ridicule them hold to standards that we don’t apply to ourselves fail to admit our mistakes or apologize fail to make time to listen and talk with them deny them freedom to grow and learn for themselves fail to keep promises Here’s a few suggestions that are more in line with bringing kids up “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) ONE: Deal with the anger in your own heart. Wait until your temper has cooled, before addressing misbehavior in your kids. Examine your own heart in prayer first so that you can address your child wisely and without an agitated tone of voice. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1: 19-20 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18 TWO: Intentionally replace harsh communication with gentleness. Some individuals can sound and even look angry when they are not. My husband is one of...

Teaching Children about Forgiveness

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  Matthew 6:14 Continued from last week…. Do you find yourself over identifying with your child’s hurt feelings?  It’s easy to do! Regardless of how they feel- and how you feel about how they feel – they must learn to let go of offense. Don’t mistake unforgiveness – or forgiveness –  as an emotion however. Both are chosen actions that move one’s mind and soul in decidedly direct directions, causing contrasting emotions.  Holding on to offenses ladens a heart with such emotions as anger, rage, bitterness, resentment, and irritation. Letting go of offenses on the other hand, results in a light heart. It’s the “ultimate weight loss” (according to Beth Moore in Praying God’s Word) allowing room for emotions such as empathy, patience, joy and PEACE! Plant “forgiveness seeds” early for your kids and water them regularly both by extending forgiveness to them and guiding them to forgive others.  Otherwise the “weeds of offense” will take root and sprout self-focused responses that become harder and harder to break. Your children will not naturally choose to forgive unconditionally.  Rather their human nature, as well as the narcissistic culture they are surrounded by, will nurture the growth of selfish attitudes and habits.  Therefore, among the highest of priorities, parents must purpose to model and teach forgiveness to their children, at an early age. We are literally obligated as God’s children to extend to others His unlimited capacity to forgive.  His standard towards us mandates nothing less!  To quote Lehman Strauss, Bible teacher and writer,...

A Hasty Temper

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29 Anger is certainly an issue in our society and increasingly more so. Even among kids who, because they are kids, will get mad. What is bothersome however is that more and more seem incapable of stopping at normal expressions of anger and instead employ heightened levels of aggressive words and actions. Consider the article “Why are Kids so Angry?“ Clearly, acts of aggression are no longer confined to the privacy of people’s homes. They’re being played out in public places — at increasingly young ages. A recent study by the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, CT, found that preschoolers are being expelled at more than three times the rate of K-12 students. Another recent survey of childcare providers, elementary school counselors, and pediatricians in Tarrant County, TX, found that more than 85% of the counselors who responded said kindergartners today have more emotional and/or behavioral problems than five years ago; 67% of childcare providers reported a similar trend with the young children in their care. “This is happening in schools all across the country,” says Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, CA. “We’re hearing about first-graders and kindergartners who are cursing and punching teachers and hitting classmates.” While lots of reasons are pointed to, such as increased violence on TV, perhaps a not-so-obvious reason is that we have come to justify and excuse anger too highly as a sacred personal right – “ I have a right to be angry over...